IMM - In My Mailbox

Won from Bookin' with Bingo:
The 10th Anniversary by James Patterson (Women's Murder Club Series #10)

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
**Both of these just sounded awesome from StorySiren reviews!

One of these days I will do a vlog, but just haven't gotten around to it.

Review - The Fatal Gift of Beauty by

Title: The Fatal Gift of Beauty
The Trials of Amanda Knox
Author: Nina Burleigh
Publish Date: Aug 2, 2011
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Hardcover, 306 pages

Barnes and Noble

Okay I will start with saying I do not know enough of Amanda Knox to judge whether or not she is guilty or innocent. I have seen the Lifetime movie and read other books about her. This book in particular is aimed at, I believe, showing her innocence. It definitely swayed me. If anything, it showed the amazing lengths that this foreign country went to great lengths to make this girl appear as guilty as possible. It seems that she was the only thing she had as a suspect. They took gossip. They trashed the scene of the crime. They gathered personal information and leaked it to the press. It seems they did everything they could to have her be the public killer. I find it sad. Even if she is guilty, no one will ever know because they messed up the forensics so badly. Regardless of what you believe about Amanda Knox or the guilty parties, anyone can see that the forensics team and the police did a really bad job.

I feel bad for all families involved. It is sad that the trial is so much more than the crime itself. It is sad that no matter what these family will have no resolution or conclusion to their love, feelings and thoughts.

The entire set of circumstances scares me. As I hope to be a mother some day and a person who spent six weeks in a foreign country, I think about the consequences of our actions. I think about being the wrong place at the wrong time. I hope that each family will find their closure and find what they need to move on. I am very sad for both of these girls and all the people involved. I thought this book was very eye opening.

Summary -

The sexually violent murder of twenty-one-year-old British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, on the night of November 1, 2007, became an international sensation when one of Kercher’s housemates, twenty-year-old Seattle native Amanda Knox, as well as her Italian boyfriend and a troubled local man Knox said she “vaguely” knew, was arrested and charged with the murder. The Fatal Gift of Beauty is award-winning author and journalist Nina Burleigh’s mesmerizing literary investigation of the murder, the controversial prosecution, the conviction and twenty-six-year sentence of Knox, the machinations of Italian justice, and the underground depravity and clash of cultures in one of central -Italy’s most beloved cities.

When Perugia authorities concluded that the murder was part of a dark, twisted rite—a “sex game”—led by the American with an uncanny resemblance to Perugia’s Madonna, they unleashed a media frenzy from Rome to London to New York and Seattle. The story drew an international cult obsessed with “Foxy Knoxy,” a pretty honor student on a junior year abroad, who either woke up one morning into a nightmare of superstition and misogyny—the dark side of Italy—or participated in something unspeakable.

The investigation begins in the old stone cottage overlooking bucolic olive groves where Kercher’s body was found in her locked bedroom. It winds through the shadowy, arched alleys of Perugia, a city of art that is also a magnet for tens of thousands of students who frequent its bars, clubs, and drug bazaar on the steps of the Duomo. It climaxes in an up-close account of Italy’s dysfunctional legal system, as the trial slowly unfolds at the town’s Tribunale, and the prosecution’s thunderous final appeal to God before the quivering girl defendant resembles a scene from the Inquisition.

To reveal what actually happened on that terrible night after Halloween, Nina Burleigh lived in Perugia, attended the trial, and corresponded with the incarcerated defendants. She also delved deeply into the history, secrets, and customs of Perugia, renowned equally for its Etruscan tunnels, early Christian art, medieval sorcerers, and pagan roots.

The Fatal Gift of Beauty is a thoughtful, compelling examination of an enduring mystery, an ancient, storied place, and a disquieting facet of Italian culture: an obsession with female eroticism. It is also an acute window into the minds and personalities of the accused killers and of the conservative Italian magistrate striving to make sense of an inexplicable act of evil. But at its core is an indelible portrait of Amanda Knox, the strangely childlike, enigmatic beauty, whose photogenic face became the focal point of international speculation about the shadow side of youth and freedom.

Review - Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson

Title: Before I Go To Sleep
Author: S.J. Watson
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: June 14, 2011
Hardcover, 368 pages

Barnes and Noble

The premise of this story is great. A woman loses her memory after an accident and coma. She wakes up, is taken home by her husband and lives each day trying to remember who she is. One day, a doctor calls her and tells her she has been seeing him to try and find a cure for her amnesia. He also tells her she has started a journal to document her memories. Neither of these things she has told her husband. From the moment Christine reads in her journal, do not trust your husband, I am hooked.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. It is seriously one of the best books I have read in oh so long! I was reading these pages like I had to in order to survive. And there is such a fantastic twist at the end that I found myself screaming NO WAY! You have go to be kidding me! and jumping up and down.

Working in a bookstore, I have sold this book almost every day since reading it and again when I have been out and about when people ask me what I recommend. Seriously, GO BUY this book. Incredible read!!

I would totally give this book away in a contest, but after lending to my mother, I will be keeping it in my library. It was that good!

Summary -
'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me ...' Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine's life.

BIG BIG THANKS to Infinite Shelf for hosting the giveaway that earned me this FANTASTIC book!

What's in my Lunchbox?

I am a HUGE fan of taking lunch to work because with only 30 minutes to eat, read and relax, I get so miffed if I spend half of it in line waiting to buy lunch. I recently found a great discovery at the store and wanted to share.

Does anyone else LOVE Kings Hawaiian Bread? We usually have it for Thanksgiving as side rolls, but I was at the grocery store and saw that they had a BOGO for a new snack sub. Thought I'd give it a try. OMG IT IS SO GOOD! I love this bread, it is sweet and yummy. I am also a big fan of only eating half of what I am given (as I feel portion control is a huge part of being healthy), so this sub is the perfect size sandwich. I want to eat two, but one is perfect with chips or another side. I usually make what I call the Mini-Dagwood which has slices of honey ham mixed with slices of turkey and a big slice of cheese. I just recently added spinach for lettuce to add to the taste too.

I have also recently found that the size of yogurt cups kind of suck. Granted I like yogurt, but most companies, they are like shot glass of yogurt. I want a real size cup. Yoplait 4 pack is a good size with only 80 calories (though I don't count them). It is slightly larger than the regular size, but not too big that it doesn't fit in my lunch box. They're also a wide enough mouth to pour in granola to mix which I really like to do. I just put it in a snack plastic baggie to bring with.

When I am in dyer need of veggies (or honestly too tired to care if I am drinking vegetables which is always good to down in the morning before I have officially waken up) I have found that Naked Juice has really good drink shakes. And I have to say the look on my team's faces when they see me drinking a thick green drink is so worth it (think Thomas Crown Affair drink).

I am also fond of a late/mid morning snack and love scones. I have found these orange scones are so good when heated up for about 10 seconds. They are crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Great with coffee or milk. I do not know the brand, but they are sold at Target and available at the local health food store as organic as well.

Late day snack consists of a few things - either a FiberOne bar or Target brand Archer Farms nut mix or cheese sticks. I honestly never thought I would like FiberOne bars, but oddly enough when healthy becomes a factor, I'll eat just about anything. And the archer farms mix is just a nice change. I like the Sweet Chili. I am a complete crazy person for cheese. I love cheese cubes, cheese sticks, cheese slices - you name it.

Things that occasionally make it in to my lunch, but I don't generally crave are Apples and Peanut Butter (or apples and caramel sauce), Applesauce, sliced watermelon and Grapes.

Years ago I also treated myself to a really nice lunch bag which makes it oh so much better to take my lunch rather than a plain old grocery bag. BORING!! I have two - lol - one is BuiltNY and bright color stripes and one is square with brown and green flowers (Target, I think). Depends on the day which one I like to take. I also really like how easy they are to clean when spills occur. I also invested in a few water bottles, one of which I keep at work on my desk and one I keep at home on my nightstand (which coincidentally I stole from Saint who can't stand my cats drinking out of his glass).

WHY is this such a big production, you may ask? Because I have found that I spend anywhere from $5 up to $15 when I buy lunch AND I DO NOT ENJOY IT AS MUCH as when I bring it from home. As I mentioned before, it also kills so much of my time and time is so important. When I bring lunch I am spending $15 - $25 for the week on lunch. HUGE SAVINGS!!

What about you? Do you have any MUST HAVES in your lunch??

Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday's cat scratcher

Have you seen Maru's website? If you haven't go now, I'll wait.

Maru gives me ideas of how to entertain my cats and toy ideas and other such cat nonsense because they make for difficult mind reading.

Anyway, I found this one that reminds me of the scratcher that Maru likes. Tuesday seemed like the cat to want to scratch and rest on the same device. I know my cat! She loved it. She will scratch it, then flop to the side and still continue to scratch. She plays with it, like it moves or something. She will run over and hop on it, then rest. It is the perfect size for her. As you can see, she is very possessive of it.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday - Tune In & Teaser

Another oldie, but goodie -
Real Love by Mary J Blige

"Despite Scott's tough exterior, when Charles told her that her brother had been implicated in a boy's death at school. Johanna could not believe that he would have anything to do with someone's suicide. Much less encourage . . . well, whatever had happened."

Everything We Ever Wanted
Sara Shepard

Funny things kids say

I met some of my neighbors. They have a couple of kids aged 5 and 7. Apparently these girls hang out out front of my house and talk to Tuesday (my cat) who sits in the window and cries for attention. They have made good friends with her and every time I see them they ask if they can come pet Tuesday. One day I conceded.

They squealed with joy, even though I made them go ask their parents if it was okay.

The two girls walk in and I lead them straight to Tuesday who is conveniently laying on her cat tree enjoying a good relaxing afternoon. The older girl walks up and starts petting Tuesday with every hand she has cooing over her and talking right in her face. Tuesday immediately starts purring and giving her that loving look.

The younger girl is all eyes. Walking around being nosy and asking questions.

Where did you come from?
Do you like it here?
Are you going to stay?
Oh, you have an upstairs too?

Then she pauses and it becomes a bit quiet, she slowly turns to me and asks, "What is that smell?"

I of course am a bit horrified, yet, I have cats so what the hell, I say, "It's probably cat smell." She smiles and continues on with her interrogation like nothing happens.

Why do you have so many boxes around?
Aren't you going to unpack them?
Why has it taken you so long to unpack?

Seriously, I am completely in love with these little girls and I haven't spent much time with them. They are inquisitive and wonderfully kind. They smile and wave all the time. Their voices ring out loudly when I pull in the driveway, "HI Heidi!" I love it. I feel so wonderfully at home.

And what's even better, they are keeping my Tuesday happy when I am gone.

PS The minute they left I steam cleaned the entire carpet! Yes, that little girl got to me.

IMM - In My Mailbox

The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox by Nina Burleigh
Never Have I Ever by Sara Shepard

Love Lies Bleeding by Jess McConkey

For Review:
Eve by Anna Carey

Delirium by Lauren Oliver